Question For Your Future Self?

A team at M.I.T. came up with a new A.I. chatbot called “Future You” that lets you ask an older and wiser version of YOURSELF for advice. Here’s how it works.

It learns about you by asking a series of questions about your life, your friends and family, the past experiences that have shaped who you are, and what your hopes are for the future. They also age your profile pic, so it looks like you’re talking to an older version of you.  The one they used with students who tried it was 60.  Then it gives you advice by drawing from “plausible synthetic memories.”

Here’s an example they gave:  A college student who’s planning to be a teacher asked it to think back on the most rewarding moment in her career. Her future self said she’s retired now, but it was when she helped a kid turn their grades around.  Quote, “It was so gratifying to see the student’s face light up with pride and accomplishment.”

Here’s how it came about. One of the researchers who built it says he’s talked to his future self a lot.  And the most profound advice he’s gotten was to spend more time with his parents, because they won’t be around forever. He said he still thinks about it, and that’s the point.  Quote, “The goal is to promote long-term thinking and behavior change, [and to] motivate people to make wiser choices in the present” so they can optimize their future.

It’s not clear when WE might get to try it.  But they had over 340 volunteers test it out, and it left people feeling less anxious and more focused about what they want their future to look like.

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